U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) is advocating home-owners threatened with foreclosure exercise squatter's rights in trying to stave off the loss of their house.
"I'm saying to them possession is 99 percent of the law; you stay in your house," Miss Kaptur said yesterday, continuing a crusade she started several weeks ago in Congress and CNN picked up Thursday night.
She may have something there...
Of course, while Kaptur advocates that homeowners facing foreclosure stay in their homes, her primary advice is to obtain sound legal advice. But I do respect that she also advises homeowners to fearlessly face the bank and demand them to "produce the note:"
What this means is that if you are in foreclosure trouble, and the bank or lending company threatens to take your home, you can buy some time and possibly renegotiate a new mortgage (without tacked-on fees) if you ask the bank to "produce the note." Evidently, in a large number of cases, banks are having a tough time producing the promissory note since mortgages are packaged up, sold, bundled again, and re-sold and the original promissory note gets lost in the process.
Foreclosure is a legal process, and there must be some documented relationship between the debtor and one laying claim to that debt. Given the convoluted ownership path securitized mortgages have taken, those looking to foreclose on homes should be compelled to toe the line.
Of course, there are naysayers, and of course, they are Republicans (from the Toledo Blade piece):
But Jim Moody, a Realtor who is running for mayor of Toledo as a Republican, said Miss Kaptur may be misleading people into thinking they can stop a legal foreclosure once a judge has issued an order.
"I think those are dangerous statements," Mr. Moody said. "What's she going to say when the sheriff comes and puts all their stuff on the street when they didn't leave because Marcy Kaptur said they could stay and become a squatter?
"I think she's clueless. This is goofy. Of course, the attorneys file the proper paperwork," Mr. Moody said.
Kaptur's not saying that all. In fact, she advises the opposite:
Well, if it’s a sheriff’s eviction, if it’s reached that point, that is almost impossible. But we find that most of the foreclosures that haven’t reached that point, families are not getting the proper legal representation, and that’s why I’m saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law; therefore, stay in your property.
Well, that’s why I’m recommending your Legal Aid Society. Call your local bar association or the national number, (888) 995-HOME. Most people don’t even think about getting representation, because they get a piece of paper from the bank, and they go, "Oh, it’s the bank," and they become fearful, rather than saying, "Oh, wait a minute. This is contract law. The mortgage is a contract. I am one party. There is another party. What are my legal rights under the law as a property owner?" And many times, they are abrogating their own rights. They’re forgetting that they have rights in this proceeding. And they need to exercise those legal rights.
Go Marcy! How come more of our elected reps are not fighting for us in this way?